Graduate Professional Development Program Survey: Towards a National Strategy

McGill University

General Information

Office responsible for graduate development programs:Teaching and Learning Services (Student Life and Learning) is the lead unit responsible for the SKILLSETS suite of offerings.
Contact name:David Syncox
Contact information:514-398-6750 |
Name of program:SKILLSETS
Social media accounts related to program: @GradLifeMcGill Facebook - Blog - Vlog - Instagram
Who is responsible for updating information for websites?Mary-Jo Rahal

Graduate Professional Development Programs

What sessions are available, in person or online? (workshops, webinars, blog, etc.) Workshops (2 hour; half day; full-day; 2-day) info-sessions, webinars, blog, 10-week seminar series, Lectures /Seminars Career events (fairs, panels, employer info-sessions,)
Are there sessions specifically for international students?Yes (selected sessions below) Winter 101 i-Week 2017: Info Session Permanent Residence Info-Session (Immigration Quebec) Traveling to the USA info-session International Student Work, Work Permits & SINs Permanent Residence Info-Session (Immigration Quebec) Finding Jobs in Canada (CaPS & ISS)
Are there mentorship or internships opportunities included in the program?Yes McGill Mentorship Program with Career Planning Services and University Advancement Internships are available through informal sources (Mitacs, CRETAE Grants, and departments, etc.)
What skills or competencies do the sessions focus on?Nine areas for professional skills development proposed by the TriCouncil/STLHE/CAGS were originally identified. Our themes on our website have been modified to address our core offerings: Here are the original nine: 1. Communication and interpersonal skills 2. Critical and creative thinking 3. Career Development 4. Integrity and ethical conduct 5. Teaching competence 6. Leadership 7. Research management 8. Dissemination, Knowledge mobilization and knowledge translation 9. Societal/civic responsibilities We also focus on: Wellness and Life-Skills, Supervision and the development of interpersonal skills in a hierarchical relationship (Supervision)
List sessions by topic and identify those in highest demand.There are over 40 units (internal and external) that host over 250 workshops annually in the SKILLSETS program. Each unit is responsible for managing its own statistics making it difficult to compare level of demand by session. There is a longer-term IT project at McGill that will help us to coordinate offerings and bring the data together. Flagship events have highest demand out of our unit and include: Learning to Teach Day: Range n=120-240 BBS: n= 85 Fellowships: n= 400 Academic Expectation(Orientation): n= ~1000 Academic Career Series: n= Graduate Career Series: n=
Who is eligible for sessions? (students, postdocs, alumni, etc.)Graduate students, postdocs
Are professional development programs mandatory for students to graduate; or are they part of a student-supervisor checklist?No, not University-wide. Two units (Integrated Program Neuroscience and Physiology) of 93 have RCR as mandatory, non-credit, and transcriptable. No _ The IDP is seen as an opportunity to speak with supervisor about skills. A University-wide project is currently underway for its implementation.
Does the program offer academic credit or formal recognition (badges, certificates, etc.) to participants?Formal recognition is done using the Co-Curricular Record (CCR). Some (~10) letters of participation and certificates of completion are offered.
Who develops and delivers the sessions? (graduate studies, other departments, students, professors, alumni, external organizations, etc.)SKILLSETS offerings are delivered by University-wide partners including Student Services, Teaching and Learning Services, Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (Dean and Associated Deans), graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, professors, alumni, and external partners (Government agencies, McKenzie Partners, Alum, etc.)
How are the sessions promoted?Email _ listserv Website - FaceBook
How do participants register? (through a centralized system or a partner company)Numerous ways: ½ Webform ½ Myfuture ½ CCR ½ Survey software
Is there additional cost or fees for registrants?No, not for those that attend We charge a no-show fee (selected events) for non-attendance ($25).

Statistic Information

How many sessions run each year?Over 250
How many staff members are involved in administering the central sessions?SKILLSETS - there are three employees in the unit dedicated to administering sessions. However, we partner University-wide. There are staff members in all 40 units that manage their own sessions. Some units have one individual others have multiple team members.
What are the registration capacities and participation rates? (per each session, total enrolment, breakdown in number of students/ postdocs/alumni, breakdown by faculty etc.)The registration capacity ranges from 20-350 Participation rates vary by session. Flagship events we have 85% show rate/15% no-show. Attendance is a perennial problem at all levels (Prof, students, staff). We implemented a no-show fee for large events where costs are associated. Student participation is highest from stem faculties in Flagship events: 25% Science 25% Engineering 25% Medicine 25% other (Arts, Education, Management, etc.)
How is participation in sessions tracked? Ad Hoc _ Due to the decentralized nature of offerings and lack of a central tracking system, we use various systems.
Is there information available to measure the effectiveness of attending sessions and securing employment after graduation?PhD Outcomes Survey (internal doc)

Departmental Level

Do departments offer professional development programs internally? If so, which?Yes, some.
Are there collaborative offerings between departments and the graduate professional development program office?Yes. Collaboration is at the core of the program. Teaching and Learning Services (SKILLSETS home base) partners with Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, Student Services, Faculties, and other service units to deliver PD.

General Questions

Do you incorporate labor market information and outcomes into the development of specific components of graduate professional development programs? Yes. Career Fairs, Info sessions, Panels, Outreach to Alumni, Invited Talks, Job Posting and Internship Posting Service, Research Partnerships
Do you incorporate strategies for developing positive relationships with employers?Yes. We include employer survey data in workshop development (i.e., framework discussions; skills development). This data is included in the content (Career destination) of various workshops but not as part of the University-0pwide strategic plan for PD.
Is there any additional information you would like to share?The McGill Career Planning Service, a member of Student Services, plays an integral role in service delivery and provides individual counselling, workshops, programs, events, and resources. Most of the events are either part or the Academic Career Series (presentations and panel discussions on navigating an academic career) or the Graduate Career Series (roundtable discussions, workshops, panels, and events to investigate career options outside academia). To view past events, go to: and select the appropriate tab.